Today we celebrate the 11th Sunday in Ordinary Time. (It is, of course, Father’s Day, too!) Stories from the past, and faith and hope in the future, help us to live in the present. It has always been this way for God’s people. Like them, “we walk by faith, and not by sight.” Though we cannot see the future, it is enough. We continue to plant our seeds, make our plans, and move forward toward the harvest.
Fathers: God’s blessings to all of the fathers today (and always, of course!). I hope that you have a great day. You will receive a special blessing at Mass today.
There have been a number of books and devotionals about St. Joseph, who is invoked as the Patron of Fathers. Back in 1889 Pope Leo XIII wrote an encyclical on Saint Joseph, entitled QUAMQUAM PLURIES, “Many times.” There is a prayer at the end of the encyclical to Saint Joseph which is most appropriate for today. The prayer below is as written on the Vatican Website (with the “thees,” and “thys,” not used in today’s American English!
To thee, O blessed Joseph, we have recourse in our affliction, and having implored the help of thy thrice holy Spouse, we now, with hearts filled with confidence, earnestly beg thee also to take us under thy protection. By that charity wherewith thou wert united to the Immaculate Virgin Mother of God, and by that fatherly love with which thou didst cherish the Child Jesus, we beseech thee and
we humbly pray that thou wilt look down with gracious eye upon that inheritance which Jesus Christ purchased by His blood, and wilt succor us in our need by thy power and strength.
Defend, O most watchful guardian of the Holy Family, the chosen off-spring of Jesus Christ. Keep from us, O most loving Father, all blight of error and corruption. Aid us from on high, most valiant defender, in this conflict with the powers of darkness. And even as of old thou didst rescue the Child Jesus from the peril of His life, so now defend God’s Holy Church from the snares of the enemy and from all adversity. Shield us ever under thy patronage, that, following thine example and strength- ened by thy help, we may live a holy life, die a happy death, and attain to everlasting bliss in Heaven. Amen.
Next weekend we will celebrate the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist, taking a break from a Sunday in Ordinary Time. John the Baptist, was the final prophet whose message was to prepare for Jesus in the context of repentance and promise. John was called by God from early on, just as we are called in baptism. His role was to point to something, someone, larger than himself. We, too,
have been called to do this through the witness of our personal lives. Our calling is far less dramatic, but it is just as real. He is an example and guide for all of us today!
This coming week we will begin RELIGIOUS FREEDOM WEEK 2018. We have had a “fortnight (two weeks) for freedom” the past few years. This year the Bishops have asked that we spend a week recognizing Religious Freedom. The press release, issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops follows:
Catholics across the United States are encouraged to pray and act in support of religious liberty at home and abroad during Serving Others in God’s Love: Religious Freedom Week 2018, which begins on June 22, the Feast of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, and ends on June 29, the Solemnity of Sts. Peter and Paul.
The chairman of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty, Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, states: “Religious freedom allows the space for people of faith to serve others in God’s love in ministries like education, adoption and foster care, health care, and migration and refugee services. We encourage people of faith to reflect on the importance of religious freedom so that we might have the space to carry out our mission of service and mercy, and we invite everyone to pray for our brothers and sisters who face intense persecution in other parts of the world.”
On Friday June 22, the Feast of Saints Thomas More and John Fisher, we are asked to pray for the protection of religious freedom in America and around the world.
For Saturday, June 23, we are asked to pray for children waiting to be placed in a loving home, for the caregivers who selflessly serve those children; that they will find strength & support from the Church.
For Sunday, June 24, we are asked to pray that the Holy Spirit give us the courage to bear witness to the truth of the gospel, even in the face of social and legal pressure.
I will have the other five days suggested petitions in next week’s bulletin. But, again, please check out the two links (above) for the full meditation and action suggestions. We are guaranteed Freedom of Religion in the First Amendment … not just “Freedom of Worship” … may we pray for success in our efforts to be free!
I hope you are having a good summer. May we continue to pray for each other.
Fr Joe Weber